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FLU AND COVID VACCINES 2023-2024
FIGHT THE FLU CAMPAIGN 2023-24
The Fight the Flu Campaign has begun at Virginia Pediatric and Adolescent Center. Flu vaccines are more important than ever in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; decreasing flu burden in the community will lead to less illness and less medical resource use. Flu vaccines start producing effective immunity 2-4 weeks after immunization, and the most effective immunity lasts about 6 months and can fade after that; circulating virus strains can also change later in the flu season. For that reason, we emphasize trying to get all children and other family members vaccinated in the fall, ideally by the end of October, per CDC and Virginia Department of Health recommendations, to provide maximum protection for late fall through winter and early spring.
We are pleased to be offering protection to our patients and to their parents and in-home caregivers. The 2023-24 influenza vaccine we are administering protects against 4 strains: Victoria (A/H1N1—swine flu), Darwin (A/H3N2), Austria (B/Victoria lineage), and Phuket (B/Yamagata lineage). Two of those four strains (Darwin and Austria) selected for the vaccine are different from last year based on recent/predicted flu strain activity; immunity lasts for one flu season, so those vaccinated last year should receive vaccine again this season.
Influenza vaccination is RECOMMENDED for ALL children and adolescents 6 months and older, their household contacts, and their caregivers. It is especially encouraged for children in daycare, for adolescents living in dormitories, and for travelers. It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for patients over 6 months of age with asthma, congenital heart disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, HIV infection, chronic kidney disease, Down syndrome, for those on chronic aspirin/steroid therapy and for those immunocompromised because of chemotherapy or an immunodeficiency. Those in contact with anyone in this group should also be vaccinated, as should everyone in the household (including caregivers) if there are any children from newborn to age 5.
After vaccination it takes two to four weeks for protection to develop, and protection lasts for up to 1 year. As with any vaccine, protection is not 100%. If a patient does get influenza, the illness is typically a milder one in a patient who has been vaccinated.
Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (Flu shot--Fluzone):
Because this inactivated influenza vaccine contains only non-infectious viruses, it CANNOT cause influenza. Respiratory disease after vaccination represents coincidental illness unrelated to influenza vaccine. The most frequent side effect is soreness at the injection site. A small percentage of patients report fever or muscle ache occurring 6-12 hours after vaccination. These effects usually last 24-48 hours. Most report no reactions. This vaccine is contraindicated in patients with a history of a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of flu vaccine or a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine (thimerosal or other ingredients), or anyone who has a history of Guillian-Barre syndrome, or in illness (mild illness is usually ok, but discuss with a provider if you are sick). If your child has a history of severe/anaphylactic egg allergy, please discuss this with your provider before the vaccine is administered. Fluzone contains a small (25 micrograms) amount of mercury. It is used as a preservative in Fluzone, the brand of flu shot offered by our office. Upon request, and for children under age 3, we have a preservative-free vaccine; FluMist is also thimerosal-free.
Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) (Intranasal--FluMist):
This vaccine was reformulated to be more effective than it used to be, and per the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics it is an equal alternative to the shot this season. However, due to manufacturing issues, we have received very few doses of FluMist in recent seasons even when we ordered them, and the timing of delivery has been late and unpredictable. Due to this, we have not ordered FluMist for the 2023-24 season, and we are focusing on getting our patients and families protected with the injectable vaccine (flu shot).
Dosing for flu vaccines requires a 2nd immunization in children under age 9 who are receiving the vaccine for the 1st time. The 2nd vaccination is needed > 4 weeks after the first dose.
***Covid vaccine specific for the fall of 2023 is NOT yet available at VPAC. Updated boosters are supposed to be released in Fall 2023, but we don't have more detailed info now. Please check back for updated information later in the month***
***We are currently experiencing a staffing shortage and have been unable to schedule additional shot clinics. We are asking our patients to visit the vaccinate VA website HERE and schedule your child's vaccine through the site. If you are unable to make that option work, please contact Virginia Pediatrics at email@example.com and we will try and accommodate you here. We are sorry for the inconvenience.***
***Flu Vaccinations are offered by APPOINTMENT ONLY, no walk-ins***
(FLU Vaccinations only)
(FLU Vaccinations only)
***New Saturday Flu Shot Clinic dates added. Please sign up below***
SATURDAY FLU SHOT CLINIC
FAIR RIDGE: 10/21/2023
(Covid/Flu shot clinic hours are NOT the same as our shot clinic hours, AND you MUST HAVE an appointment to get the Flu shot or Covid vaccine.)
Flu Vaccine: FAQ
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